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Idesk is a simple program for putting icons on your X desktop. It can also manage your wallpaper with a built in changer similar to that found in Windows 7.


Install idesk from the official repositories, then set up in your home directory:

$ mkdir ~/.idesktop
$ cp /usr/share/idesk/dot.ideskrc ~/.ideskrc


$ cp /usr/share/idesk/default.lnk ~/.idesktop/

(the default icon just runs Xdialog to display a little message but can be used as a template)


The idesk package doesn't come with a man page, but it does come with a readme file: /usr/share/idesk/README. There's also documentation on, even though most of the options are self-explanatory.

Background options

If you're using another program for setting wallpaper (such as feh) the defaults will work fine (you may want to set Background.File and Background.Source to "/" to silence the error messages).

Background.Source seems to take predence over Background.File; however, it is ignored if Background.Delay is set to 0.

Supported wallpaper formats include JPEG, PNG, GIF, and XPM.


Idesk looks in ~/.idesktop for files which names end with .lnk for icons. Each file should define one icon (if you attempt to define a second icon is will be silently ignored). Aside from ending with .lnk, the files' names are not important.

Example for Chromium:

table Icon
  Caption: Chromium
  ToolTip.Caption: Google's OSS Web Browser
  Icon: /usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/chromium.png
  Width: 32
  Height: 32
  X: 977
  Y: 369
  Command[0]: chromium

Width and Height should match the actual dimensions of the icon. X and Y will be modified by idesk to reflect the icon's actual position.


I've noticed that icons seem to show the contents of semi-transparent urxvt windows that are on other desktops... I'm not sure it this's the fault of idesk, urxvt, OpenBox, or xcompmgr. It's not that irritating, so I do not plan to look into it, but it is odd... --Solarshado 01:09, 3 November 2010 (EDT)